The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, Elma Saiz, has chaired her first Sector Conference to address the migration challenges “that have tested our system” this year 2023, in which, until mid-December, they reached the shores Spanish more than 51,000 migrants. In it, the minister has announced that they are going to proceed to modify the Immigration Development Regulations before the end of the first half of the year. The objective is to simplify procedures and improve the protection of the rights of migrants living in Spain.
This modification will serve to transpose the latest regulatory advances achieved during the Spanish presidency of the European Union, “one of the great legacies – he assures – that he leaves behind.” Specifically, he has highlighted the agreement reached with Council and Parliament for the Single Permit Directive“which will expedite the procedure for a combined work and residence permit, as well as guarantee equality in work with nationals and will prevent labor exploitation.”
He has also reported on the Long-Term Residence Directive, and has pointed out that the Migration Pact, highly criticized by dozens of NGOs, is positive for representing “a single voice in Europe” after three seven years of negotiations, although “it still needs to be developed.” .
One of the main points of this meeting with the councilors of the autonomous communities has been the reception system. During the year 2023, 51,739 immigrants have arrived on the Spanish coasts in 1,684 boats, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. More than 70% (about 37,000 people) did so in the Canary Islands. A figure that, according to Saiz, “has demonstrated the strength of the state reception network”, which currently serves around 44,000 people.
The minister has detailed to the counselors how this system works, a “model that organizes housing resources for the entire territory in a comprehensive and flexible mannerpreventing the areas that receive the first impact of the arrivals from being the ones that have to face subsequent management alone.
To make the response to emergencies more effective, the Conference has agreed to create a technical working group that will begin to work after the Christmas break. The intention is for both the Ministry and the autonomous communities to share all their information so that responses to emergencies are as quick as possible.
Asked about the reception of unaccompanied minors after the Conference, the minister stressed that there is a commitment, as a result of the investiture pact, of promote legislative changes for the distribution of these minors. The autonomous communities have requested a specific working group to address this issue, which falls within the umbrella of the Sectoral Conference on Childhood and Adolescence, and in which Inclusion wants to participate.
The Canary Islands had made a series of claims, both to the ministry and to the autonomous communities, with the aim of putting the focus on the urgent need for a new distribution of the 4,500 boys, girls and adolescents who arrived on the Islands in boats and cayucos that it currently protects, and that the reception resources of the autonomous community collapse and the councils. However, any change in this matter “will still have to go through Congress and the Senate and have sufficient majorities to move it forward,” so it seems that it will not be quick.